Rarely seen penalty nearly spoils Steelers win
A rarely seen penalty nearly spoiled the Pittsburgh Steelers’
38-31 win Sunday over the Packers.
Defensive lineman Ziggy Hood was called for illegal batting in
the third quarter when he poked the ball out of bounds after it had
been loose following a blocked field goal.
Officials conferred a few minutes before calling the penalty and
awarding the ball back to Green Bay, ruling the Steelers never
controlled it and that it never crossed the line of scrimmage of
the Steelers 5.
Referee Carl Cheffers described batting to a pool reporter as an
intentional act of striking the ball in a loose ball situation in
the direction of a team’s own goal line.
Pittsburgh held on after a Packers pass into the end zone sailed
incomplete as time expired.
Steelers safety Ryan Clark said he had possession but lateraled
the ball when he was slowed by a sprained ankle. The ball ended up
”It’s human error in this game,” Clark said. ”The guy didn’t
see it, he didn’t have the opportunity to know if I had possession,
so he made the call that he saw and that’s part of football. It’s
no big deal, we won.”
Cheffers, though, said the officials took extra time to
determine whether or not there was possession. He also said the
Packers could have advanced the ball since it never crossed the
line of scrimmage.
”Any time the ball is behind the line of scrimmage on a blocked
field goal like that, the offensive team has every right to advance
the ball,” Cheffers said.
The frantic sequence of events started when Steve McClendon
blocked Mason Crosby’s 23-yard try.
”I know batting is a penalty, but I didn’t know that it would
get us the ball back,” Crosby said. ”Happy it did, but we came
out on the short end.”
Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org